Growing cocoa is important for farmers in these tropical regions, but the high demand for chocolate can result in unethical production and environmental strain. Like palm oil, the drive for more cocoa has led to the destruction of tropical forests, as cocoa plantations have grown rapidly. As well as deforestation, the ever-increasing demand for cheap cocoa leads to farmers being paid poorly and living in poverty. This demand can even lead to illegal child labour and modern slavery.
One of the best ways to ensure cocoa production is sustainable and ethical is for chocolate makers to source their cocoa responsibly, from suppliers they know and plantations that can be identified. The chocolate brands we sell may have different approaches to this, but they all prioritise sourcing sustainably. Some use the recognised Fairtrade scheme, whereas others develop direct trade relationships with growers and cocoa producers to ensure they pay a fair price for the cocoa they buy.
As well as sourcing cocoa responsibly, there is more to consider to ensure a sustainable product. Sustainability also means considering impacts throughout the supply chain, from manufacturing to packaging and social impacts. The brands we sell work in different ways, with different priorities, but the environment and sustainability are important to them all.
No one is perfect, and we can all do more, but even small changes in awareness and action can collectively start to make a difference.
For more interesting reading, see the links below to news, information and to learn about what one of the brands we sell is doing to campaign for 100% slave-free chocolate. (Contains links to external websites)
Washington Post child labour article
Forbes article on Tony's Chocolonely
Tony's Chocolonely mission